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New Zealand-based alternative protein start-up Jooules has made strides towards commercialising its gaseous fermentation technology, securing a $1 million investment from Sprout Agritech.

Founded by David McLellan, Jooules aims to revolutionise the future of protein production by converting CO2 emission streams into ingredients-based protein, addressing the need for more sustainable food sources.

David McLellan, founder of Jooules, said: “In laboratory settings, we have proved the ability to harness the power of ancient microbes through gaseous fermentation to produce functional food-grade protein from carbon dioxide".

He continued: "Our ingredients-based protein will be nutritionally dense and resilient with major ethical benefits when you consider that we will be able to carbon capture emissions streams from other industries."

Jooules' production techniques are anticipated to consume substantially fewer resources compared to traditional protein production methods, with estimates suggesting around 600 times less water and 99% less land will be required.

Additionally, Jooules is pioneering the microbial production of high-quality protein ingredients from CO2 on a large scale, a first in New Zealand.

The recent funding injection will be directed towards expanding Jooules' technical team and accelerating product development, with the company collaborating with SCION, a Crown research entity, to leverage specialised equipment.

Early testing has shown that proteins produced through gaseous fermentation meet the nutritional density standards set by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, with all nine essential amino acids.

"Our protein is tailored for global food manufacturers seeking sustainable protein sources, catering to both human and high-value companion animal diets," McLellan added.

With the global population projected to increase significantly by 2050, Jooules aims to alleviate the strain on existing food production systems while mitigating emissions.

"Through recent advancements in fermentation technology, we can produce a new source of nutritionally complete foods. Our goal is not only to disrupt current practices but also to generate substantial export revenues from innovative technology."

Warren Bebb, investment manager for Sprout, commented: “They’ve invented a way to address a global challenge that uses the problem - carbon dioxide - as a pathway to food. The team’s approach leapfrogs other solutions in both innovation and ambition and we’re hugely excited to see what the team is able to achieve as it accelerates its investment into product development and testing,

"Empowering food manufacturers to tackle emissions associated with their supply chain at scale is a critical aspect of our mission," McLellan concluded. "We're excited to lead the charge towards a more sustainable food future."

Jooules secures $1m investment to advance CO2-based protein production

Sian Yates

7 May 2024

Jooules secures $1m investment to advance CO2-based protein production

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